Toyota keeps momentum in a declining market

Bucking industry trends, Toyota maintains its sales momentum by delivering 12,440 units in October for a 27,4% slice of the new vehicle market; year-to-date this equates to a 26,7% share. It’s the sixth time this year that Toyota has crested the 10,000 mark.

This is within the context of a South African car market that is seeing a softening in new-car demand as evidenced by the third consecutive month of contraction. Domestic retail numbers in October declined by 905 units, representing a fall of 2% compared to the same month last year. According to NAAMSA, the problems pushing new cars out of reach are threefold – economic uncertainty, coupled with elevated inflation and high interest rates.

The Hilux remains the country’s most popular vehicle, with Toyota shifting 3,110 units. Overall, Toyota enjoys a commanding 42% share of the LCV market with other notable contributions in this space coming from Hiace (1,496), Land Cruiser 79 (248) and Quantum on 199 units retailed. Once again, it’s important to note that this is against a 3% drop-off in the total LCV market.

It’s a similar story for the passenger market which experienced a decline of 1,068 cars, or a loss of 3,5% over the same period in 2022. Toyota’s 23,1% share of this market, however, reflects a consistent performance. The locally produced Corolla Cross remains the star attraction in the company’s passenger-car arsenal, garnering 2,100 sales to give it second place on the podium. Another good showing for Starlet on 1,363 units puts it in fourth position while, for the first time, the Vitz on 779 units has placed in the top ten.

Naturally, SUVs dominate passenger sales and Toyota has a number of models competing in this space across several segments: Fortuner (629), Land Cruiser 300 (279) and RAV4 (107). (Please note that RAV4 sales have been hampered by global supply constraints.) The SUV trend is also reflected in the most popular models sold in the Lexus stable - NX and LX achieving sales of 22 and 15 units respectively.

Toyota also leads with a 30% share in the MCV space thanks largely to buoyant sales of the Hino 300 Series (144). The Hino 500 Series takes a 14,1% share of the HCV market.

Parts’ supply for October came in at just over 1,4 million pieces distributed locally and close to 264,000 pieces exported to foreign markets.

October has not been a good month for the vehicle industry overall, but Toyota South Africa’s Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing, Leon Theron, remains cautiously optimistic: “Clearly the post-pandemic rebound is taking longer than we expected fuelled by recessionary fears, rising interest rates and other economic concerns plaguing not just South Africa but the whole world. That said, Toyota Motor Corporation recently released an excellent set of results and here in South Africa we are similarly mirroring the global sales’ success. That’s not to say it hasn’t been challenging, on the contrary, if it wasn’t for the focused team that we have backing us, working alongside the most dedicated dealer network in the country, we would not be where we are now. Neither do we underestimate the power of our incredibly loyal customer base – I’d like to extend a special thank you to all of you.”